Big 12 Power Rankings: The Sooners are the obvious early season choice
Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman threw for 2,638 yards with 17 touchdowns in limited action as a true freshman last season. [Photo by Texas Tech athletics]
Editors note: The college football season gets underway Thursday, and Press Pass Sports is releasing its first of a weekly power ranking poll for the Big 12 Conference
1. Oklahoma 0-0 (No. 4): As the ol’ saying goes, “To be the man, you have to beat the man.” No one in the Big 12 has knocked the Sooners off the top of the conference mountain in four years. With Alabama transfer QB Jalen Hurts, it won’t be easy this season.
Season opener:vs. Houston, 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
2. Texas 0-0 (No. 10): “Texas is back”. That’s the rumor anyway. Third-year coach Tom Herman has put together two straight top-five recruiting classes. The X-factor is the Longhorns defense, and if they can hold up during the year.
Season opener: vs. Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m. Saturday.
3. Iowa State 0-0 (No. 21): The Cyclones turned some heads when they came in third in the Big 12 preseason media poll. But after Oklahoma and Texas it’s a wide open race. With one of the better defenses in the league and QB Brock Purdy coming into his own, ISU is on track for a third straight 8-win season.
Season opener: vs. Northern Iowa, 11 a.m. Saturday.
4. Oklahoma State 0-0: Mike Gundy took more critism last season than he had in 15 years as a head coach despite pulling off his 13th straight winning season. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius has graduated, yet Gundy still has another QB dilemma between Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders.
Season opener: at Oregon State, 9:30 p.m. Friday.
5. TCU 0-0: Gary Patterson named redshirt senior and Kansas State transfer Alex Delton as the starting quarterback Tuesday. The schedule does bode well for the Horned Frogs despite an early season visit to West Lafayette to face Purdue on Sept. 14. TCU will get five conference games at Amen Carter Stadium.
Season opener:vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 7 p.m. Saturday.
6. Texas Tech 0-0: First-year head coach Matt Wells brings a new attitude into Lubbock. Why he’s unproven at the Power 5 level, Wells was a proven winner at Utah State. Be on the lookout for sophomore QB Alan Bowman. When healthy, he’s as talented as any gunslinger in the country.
Season opener:vs. Montana State, 3 p.m. Saturday.
7. Baylor 0-0: Head coach Matt Rhule has done an excellent job since taking over a mess left in front of him when he took over. Baylor went from one-win to seven wins in the span of two years. What will year three hold?
Season opener: vs. Stephen F. Austin State, 6 p.m. Saturday.
8. West Virginia 0-0: After a four-year stint at Troy, Neal Brown is back in the Big 12 for the first time in since 2012. The former Texas Tech offensive coordinator has work to do with a rebuilding Mountaineers team, but getting OU transfer Austin Kendall as the starting quarterback is a good start.
Season opener: vs. James Madison, 1 p.m. Saturday.
9. Kansas State 0-0: No Bill Snyder has the Wildcats heading moving the program in a new direction. New head coach Chris Klieman has been given the task of rebuilding a K-State that suffered a disappointing 2018.
The schedule didn’t do Klieman any favors.
Season opener: vs. Nicholls, 6 p.m. Saturday.
10. Kansas 0-0: Les Miles is resurged and ready for his crack at turning around a program that’s been woeful for way too long. Miles’ winning reputation at OSU and LSU will be an uphill battle. Don’t expect the turnaround to happen in a day, however, look for KU to make progress throughout the year.
Season opener: vs. Indiana St., 11 a.m.